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4:00 PM ET, February 21, 2019


 Top Items: 
Leigh Ann Caldwell / NBC News:
Republican candidate's son shakes up North Carolina hearing with surprise testimony  —  John Harris said he warned his father about potentially illegal activities of a political operative the candidate eventually hired.  —  RALEIGH, N.C. — The son of Republican congressional candidate Mark Harris testified …
Raleigh News & Observer:   Mark Harris suddenly calls for a new election in the 9th District, leaves hearing
Amy Gardner / Washington Post:
Candidate says new congressional election warranted in North Carolina
Discussion: Splinter
Miles Parks / NPR:
GOP Candidate At Center Of Contested North Carolina Race Calls For New Election
Discussion: The Week and Contemptor
Julie K. Brown / miamiherald:
Federal prosecutors broke law in Jeffrey Epstein case, judge rules  —  A judge ruled Thursday that federal prosecutors — among them, U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta — broke federal law when they signed a plea agreement with a wealthy, politically connected sex trafficker and concealed …
Discussion: Hill Reporter
Neal K. Katyal / New York Times:
The Mueller Report Is Coming.  Here's What to Expect.  —  A concise report will probably act as a “road map” to investigation for the Democratic House — and to further criminal investigation by other prosecutors.  —  Mr. Katyal was an acting solicitor general under President Barack Obama.
Jacqueline Alemany / Washington Post:
Power Up: ‘By the Book Bob:’ Prosecutors say Mueller will tightly hug Justice guidelines in report
Dylan Stableford / Yahoo News:
Chicago police on Jussie Smollett arrest: Actor ‘took advantage of the pain and anger of racism’
Discussion: Breitbart, AOL and The Gateway Pundit
Wall Street Journal:
Trump Inaugural Committee Challenged Vendor Requests and Budgeting, Documents Show  —  In the weeks before his inauguration, top officials on President Trump's inaugural committee repeatedly sounded alarms about the budgets submitted by several vendors, according to correspondence, committee records and draft budgets.
Discussion: Raw Story and Talking Points Memo
American Democracy in Crisis: The Fate of Pluralism in a Divided Nation  —  The 2018 Election  —  Views of President Trump  —  After two years in office, the public's view of President Trump remains negative.  As of late December 2018, when this survey was conducted …
Emma Green / The Atlantic:
These Are the Americans Who Live in a Bubble  —  Most Americans do not live in a totalizing bubble.  They regularly encounter people of different races, ideologies, and religions.  For the most part, they view these interactions as positive, or at least neutral.
Discussion: Hullabaloo
Asawin Suebsaeng / The Daily Beast:
Trump White House Is Forcing Interns to Sign NDAs and Threatening Them With Financial Ruin  —  Not even the interns are exempt from the legally dubious rite of passage practiced by the Trump White House.  —  Asawin Suebsaeng  —  When the Trump White House welcomed its newest batch …
Khadeeja Safdar / Wall Street Journal:
Meet Under Armour CEO's Unusual Adviser: An MSNBC Anchor  —  Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank was questioned last year by the company's board over his ties to MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle, who has traveled on his private jet and provided input on a range of business matters, according to current and former executives.
Ronald Brownstein / The Atlantic:
Bernie Sanders Will Hit Huge Obstacles in 2020  —  Bernie Sanders's entry into the 2020 race amounts to a big stone in a lake: It will generate ripples that touch every other candidate.  But his own path to the nomination remains rocky unless he can attract a broader coalition than he did in 2016.
Discussion: Hot Air, ThinkProgress and KBZK
TIME:   The Biggest Field Yet. No Frontrunner. A Divided Base. Welcome to the 2020 Democratic Primary
Nate Silver / FiveThirtyEight:
How Bernie's 2020 Map Might Change Without The #NeverHillary Vote
Discussion: New York Times
Jared Keller / Task & Purpose:
Trump claims border wall is under construction ‘right now’ using fence repair footage from 5 months ago  —  With a legal fight challenge mounting from state governments over the Trump administration's use of a national emergency to construct at the U.S.-Mexico border, the president has kicked his push for the barrier into high gear.
Discussion: Vox and New York Times
Nina dos Santos / CNN:
This man could shed light on Trump mystery, Senate witness says  —  London and Moscow (CNN)Senate investigators want to question a Moscow-based American businessman with longstanding ties to President Donald Trump after witnesses told them he could shed light on the President's commercial …
Roger Stone asks for second chance as gag order looms  —  Stone was trying to walk back an Instagram post appeared to include a gun's crosshairs above the head of the federal judge overseeing his case.  —  Roger Stone took the stand Thursday to ask for a second chance to keep his voice …
Tierney Sneed / Talking Points Memo:   Stone Testifies In Off-The-Rails Hearing About Instagram Post
Nick Bilton / Vanity Fair:
“She Never Looks Back”: Inside Elizabeth Holmes's Chilling Final Months at Theranos  —  At the end, Theranos was overrun by a dog defecating in the boardroom, nearly a dozen law firms on retainer, and a C.E.O. grinning through her teeth about an implausible turnaround.
Kara Scannell / CNN:
IRS analyst charged in leak of Michael Cohen's bank records  —  (CNN)An analyst with the Internal Revenue Service was charged with disclosing confidential reports about Michael Cohen's bank records that revealed the President's former lawyer sought to profit from his proximity to the White House.
Caleb Melby / Bloomberg:
Trump's Inaugural Team Scrambled to Defend Staff and Record Haul  — Tricky question a year after party: What did Rick Gates do?  — Staffers came from Barrack's Colony Capital, Manafort's circle  —  The leaders of President Donald Trump's inaugural committee saw trouble coming and tried to get ahead of it.
Discussion: Politico and Raw Story
Trump, Inc.:   Trump Inauguration Chief Tom Barrack's ‘Rules for Success’
Astead W. Herndon / New York Times:
2020 Democrats Embrace Race-Conscious Policies, Including Reparations  —  From the very first day of the 2020 presidential race, when Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts blamed “generations of discrimination” for black families earning far less than white households …
David Armstrong / STAT:
Purdue's Sackler embraced plan to conceal OxyContin's strength from doctors, sealed deposition shows  —  In May 1997, the year after Purdue Pharma launched OxyContin, its head of sales and marketing sought input on a key decision from Dr. Richard Sackler, a member of the billionaire family that founded and controls the company.
Sam Dean / Los Angeles Times:
Facebook decided which users are interested in Nazis — and let advertisers target them directly  —  Facebook makes money by charging advertisers to reach just the right audience for their message — even when that audience is made up of people interested in the perpetrators of the Holocaust or explicitly neo-Nazi music.
Philip Klein / Washington Examiner:
Government report reveals CBO was scandalously off in Obamacare estimates  —  A new report from government actuaries has revealed that the Congressional Budget Office was scandalously off in its estimates of the impact of Obamacare's individual mandate, a miscalculation that has had significant ramifications …
Discussion: Daily Wire, RedState and
Adam Klasfeld /
Airline Intrigue With Mueller Tie Lands in US Court  —  (CN) - Yalcin Ayasli, a Turkish-American entrepreneur who founded the now-defunct airline BoraJet, amassed a personal fortune that made him a formidable power broker in both his birth and adoptive countries.
Discussion: Raw Story
BuzzFeed News:
Trump Said He Ordered His Administration To Withhold Wildfire Aid To California.  FEMA Says He Never Did.  —  The president tweeted that he was cutting off disaster assistance to wildfire survivors to punish California officials.  But no record of such an order exists.
Tal Kopan / San Francisco Chronicle:
Trump administration begins effort to strip work permits for immigrant spouses  —  WASHINGTON — After nearly two years of delays, the Trump administration is moving ahead with its plan to strip work permits for the spouses of many high-skilled visa holders, an effort that could jeopardize tens …
New York Times:
Advertisers Boycott YouTube After Pedophiles Swarm Comments on Videos of Children  —  SAN FRANCISCO — Nestlé, Epic Games and other major brands said on Wednesday that they had stopped buying advertisements on YouTube after their ads appeared on children's videos where pedophiles had infiltrated the comment sections.
Benjamin Parker / The Bulwark:
Laura Ingraham Goes All In on the Duke  —  “Sometimes it isn't being fast that counts, or even accurate; but willing.”  —John Wayne  —  Let's stipulate for a moment that John Wayne's 1971 Playboy interview is news (which is apparently unrelated to the word “new") and that …
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 More Items: 
George F. Will / Washington Post:
Trump is trashing the Constitution. Larry Hogan shows how Republicans should respond.
Discussion: Cafe Hayek
Jim Brunner / The Seattle Times:
Howard Schultz didn't vote on latest Seattle school levies
Kevin D. Williamson / National Review:
Where to Go on Health Insurance?
Alan Gomez / USA Today:
The Trump administration keeps breaking up migrant families. Here's how they do it
Discussion: NBC News and Daily Kos
Deconstructed / The Intercept:
Crazy in Gov: Why Won't the Media Discuss Trump's Mental Instability?
Alex Linder / shanghaiist:
Uniqlo says its new spring jacket was not inspired by Mao Zedong
 Earlier Items: 
Nogales International:
Town says it's ‘taken action’ after marshal's encounter with young journalist
Discussion: Hit & Run
Just Security:
Stop Using the Word “Collusion”—How to Frame the Critical Question at the Heart of Trump-Russia
Indianapolis Star:
Road rage, hate crime or both: Shooting death of Muslim man could draw FBI scrutiny
Discussion: Advocate and ThinkProgress
Jonathan Swan / Axios:
Scoop: McConnell recommends Kelly Craft to Trump for UN ambassador
Discussion: Political Wire
Jim Geraghty / National Review:
It's Not a Disinformation Campaign if the Facts Are True
Discussion: Hullabaloo and Booman Tribune
Washington Post:
Allies decline request to stay in Syria after U.S. troops withdraw
Discussion: Bloomberg and